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An Interview Of Mine Got Published…. June 16, 2012

Posted by Aman.... in Random Stuff.

I am a guy from a small city and I really don’t think that I know a lot about Oracle database that I can be called a Guru or a master, let alone to be called or considered as a celebrity. But some folks , very kindly do consider me a little knowledgeable and I am so grateful for them to think in such a high regard about me. One of such kind persons is  Nassyam Basha who asked me few days back to answer some of the questions that he wanted to post as an interview of mine on his website. I did give the answers and sent them back to him and he very kindly, posted my first ever interview on his website. I must say thanks to him for giving me the space and chance to speak about myself and some things that I probably always wanted to share with others. I am going to post the entire interview over here itself for easy access. Have a read,

Interview with Aman Sharma (Aman…) – Oracle ACE, Author, Instructor

Aman Sharma has more than 11 years of experience working with Oracle products, especially with Oracle Database. He made his hands wet first with Oracle 7.3 briefly and went more deeper with it with version 8 and have used almost all the versions of Oracle database since then. He has worked as database administrator in the past and currently, works as technical instructor teaching professionals around Asia Pacific, modules related to Oracle Database. In his spare time, he likes to interact with professionals around the globe over various technical forums , especially at OTN’s Database General forum. He is member of AIOUG.

Besides this, occasionally he updates his technical blog with posts related to various topics related to oracle database.

Oracle database high availability architecture, database administration.

Your hobbies, favourite food & your best places so far?

Learning Oracle database is one hobby of mine that would come on top of the list.. Other than that music, poetry, traveling are my favourite past times. Anything that my mom cooks for me is my most favourite. I am foodie so I do like to try different dishes whenever I can and wherever I can. I am a vegetarian so the choices for me are limited but still, I do keep on tasting different things whenever possible. Best places, my home town! I am fortunate that I do travel a lot for my work so have been at many places(while there are far more where I still have to visit) and fortunately, I have met always really good people wherever I have gone. So every place where I have visited left a very good impression on me. If I have to pick one place still, I shall say Singapore so much.

How to Reach you?

I can be reached most easily over the OTN’s Database General forum where I spend a lot of time almost daily. Other than that, I maintain an Oracle blog of mine- http://blog.aristadba.com and also am there on Twitter. One can follow me on Twitter using http://twitter.com/amansharma81 . My LinkedIn profile page is http://in.linkedin.com/in/sharmaaman .

Your strengths & weakness?

I guess the strength is that I keep on trying to learn and to improve in any possible way I can. I am in a profession where I get a lot of room to learn many technologies and I try to make myself a little more better in each one of them. Other than that, I would say that I have a lot of patience and I don’t lose temper easily. Being an Aquarian,I have a keen eye for details and perfection.  Weakness, well I guess there are going to be many so better not list them here! :)

How much time do you spend daily for technical stuff?

Oh a lot actually! I work as an instructor so for me the day starts with a session which is either a new one or is already underway. Besides delivering the module, there are a lot of discussions which happen along with it and that itself is very good for me in order to get more familiar with different aspects of a particular feature and/or a module in totality. Besides that, there is a lot of preparation and reading that goes on behind the scene like reading additional books than the courseware, discussing things with the other instructors and also playing around with the features on the test instances. In addition to this, I am a subscriber to the http://OraNA.info  feeds which has all the blogs listed in it. I try to consume all the favourite ones of mine almost daily. And last but certainly not the least, I have always a tab opened in my browser which has OTN’s Database General forum and I try to participate in the discussions as much as I can do. I started learning Oracle database purely as a hobby(yes, that’s true) and for me, it’s not like a 9-5 thing. As I mentioned somewhere above, it is one of my favourite hobbies so I spend almost all of my time doing some thing or the other related to it. Even if I shall be listening to music, there would be a tab opened in my browser which would either have OTN forums open or some tech paper/article would be there.

Can you share your experience first day of your job?

I joined and was assigned a batch of few participants and was told, if they won’t throw you out in the next two hours, you are on! I stayed for much longer time than two hours and that batch scored the highest in all the OCP exams among the other batches who started along with itJ.

What are your overwhelming and embarrassing moments as an Oracle DBA?

Well, I work  as an instructor so  every single session is a new learning for me. Because of this profession, I have been fortunately traveling a lot and meeting a lot of talented people every week and also get a chance to learn from their questions.  So for me, when I am able to see that I have made someone understand a particular concept in which he/she was struggling understand, I get the feedback from the delegates that they enjoyed the session and it was productive and useful for them, that brings a great deal of satisfaction and happiness for me. Disappointments, not anyone that I can recall but if I must say, the lack of sleep and not having a very good food at times is a little trouble  :) . Just kidding!

What made you to learn & work on Oracle databases?

Oracle Database is one of the most sophisticated and complex piece of software in the world. In addition to this that a lot about is written almost at millions of places on the web and in many books, articles as well, there is still a lot about it which is a mystery for us. And to add to this the gazillion new features that are being added with every new release and the complexities they introduce is just overwhelming. For me these two things are the biggest motivational aspects. The thought that there is a lot that I don’t know than I know always gives a kick and makes me get back to read the manuals, books and play around and yet, each and every day, I learn either something completely new or get corrected or improved in something which I had already known.

Biggest technical challenges so far in your career?

My area of work is that in every week, I meet a new pool of professionals, DBA’s , people who use Oracle database day-in and day-out and at times, are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am. So for me, I shall say every week is brings a new set of challenges but in a pleasant and rewarding way.

Any role model in career point of view?

The list is fairly long to be honest. I believe, like many other dba professionals, it wouldn’t be a surprise if I shall mention too the names of Jonathan Lewis and Tom Kyte.  Though I have not been able to meet Tom Kyte in person but I have been reading and following AskTom since its started along with all the books that he has written along the way. I must say, his book Expert One on One and its next releases covering the more recent versions of database, are a must-to-have collection for any oracle database guy. About Jonathan Lewis, what more I can say than this that meeting him in-person was one of the most happiest moments of my life! And I also got a chance to attend his session and to experience that how so much he knowledgeable and yet so humble he is. The knowledge that he has, that so deep understanding of oracle database and how it works, almost each and every aspect, every portion of it and on top of it, how much he shares it with us, the oracle community  is just so amazing! Also I shall mention my friend Hans Forbrich. His patience, focus on learning and then sharing that learning making things understandable to others, being so supportive are just few of the aspects that I admire so greatly. So for the sake of the question, I shall say that these three people are my role models though the list is far too long and I have missed a lot to mention.

Your own technical best books/ White papers/ Articles so far.. if any?

I have co-authored a book along with my good friend Kamran Agayev. This book is about backup and recovery techniques done using RMAN. It’s not yet out but we have spent a lot of time working over it so I hope that when it is out, it comes out to be useful for the community. Besides this, as I said, I maintain an Oracle database related blog where I write. Its not often but whenever I find something interesting or learn anything new, I try to share. I wrote a white paper about DBCA and more recently contributed an article for http://althingsoracle.com website related to 11.2 RAC’s feature Server Pools.

If you have blog, please share link and give a brief explanation on it?

One can find my blog at http://blog.aristadba,com . I guess like any other database related blog, mine also is the collection of the interesting things that I encounter while playing around with the product. I don’t write there often but whenever I find any such thing, I try to share it with the community.

What are the favorite books so far in your repository?

Oh I have a lot of them and trust me all are my favourite books only. But at the moment, I am reading Jonathan Lewis’s Oracle Core Essentials and as it covers a lot about oracle’s internal working and functionalities, an area which I really like to explore so much, is probably my most favourite book and would be remaining the same for a long time.

Your contribution & experience with OTN forums?

As I said, I am very frequent over OTN forums, more particularly over the Database-General forum.  I must say that OTN forums are the best forums in the whole wide web. I mean where else you would find Guru’s like Jonathan Lewis, Hans Forbrich, Hemant Chitale(and many many more) coming and answering questions , clearing doubts of the people? I have been on the forums from quite some time now and I must say that I have learned so much from it. The questions asked are of a mixed nature where some questions are easy and others are tough. But either way, it’s a very rewarding experience because at times, even with the simplest of the questions, you make yourself recall the concept and thus put it in the most simplest way for the person to understand. At times, I don’t know the answer of some questions and at that time, I read the replies given by the other forum members. So in all the ways, it’s a win-win situation. There are various other forums as well on the web and few of them, I have visited and participated too but the quality of both, questions and replies , given over the OTN forums is unmatchable. I shall suggest very strongly to all that if not for a longer time, at least spend an hour over it and you would learn so much.

Your advice for oracle learners?

I have become a big fan of the saying that late Steve Jobs said in his famous speech at MIT, “stay hungry, stay foolish”. That’s the same which I follow and shall advice to anyone else too. It’s very easy to get into the illusion of knowing-it-all but 9 out of 10 times, it’s not the truth. Having a passion of learning for forever is a must if you are thinking to pick oracle database as a career option. Read the documentation, install a virtual machine using Virtual Box and beat it in whatever way you can. When struck, read the documentation and if you think its too much big in size, check in an another book. If still not clear, ask over at the OTN forums and someone or the other would be putting you on the right track. But don’t think that there can be an easy way. It’s an ever changing world and you must be ready to start from scratch many things almost all the time. Other than that, I shall say that get a formal training from Oracle University. The content, structure and the flow given in the courses of OU is just fantastic and provides an very in-depth view of the topic.

What is your view on Oracle vs Other database ( SQL server/Mysql/ DB2….), Are you proud as an Oracle DBA?

I just know and do one database and that is Oracle database. So I don’t think I can give a fair answer in the comparisons of Oracle  with the rest. I believe every database software has some good things. But in Oracle the list is much longer and I am definitely very proud to choose and work in it. :)

What are the areas you will visit, so that you will keep up to date with Oracle?

I believe Exadata would be the one that I shall be spending a lot of time upon along with the latest Big Data offering of Oracle. And obviously I would be waiting for 12C to come sooner so that can get started with it as well.

Your Certifications , how they been helped you & how it benefits you?

I hold OCP certification on multiple versions along with OCE and OCS titles in addition to the Solaris Administration. As I said already, I take certifications in a very positive way and for me, they are the best way to get a structured way to do the preparation of a module. Yes, being certified certainly doesn’t mean that you have now become a master in that topic but it shows that you have put an effort to learn that module or topic. That’s the way I look at the certifications and for me, preparing and writing them always have brought more confidence about my knowledge about the said topic.

So what are you looking forward to learn technically in future?

I think for me learning Oracle database is just an on-going process. So my aim is just to keep learning it and try to become a little more better in it with every passing day than the previous one.

Your specialization in oracle

Database architecture and the understanding of how most of the things work within the db,

Your experience as an oracle instructor, what courses you will deliver, your favorite course, how you enjoying it?

I deliver the modules related to Oracle database and I absolutely love my job.  Trust me, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing and hearing that because of your session, someone has understood a feature in a better way or an old doubt of someone is clarified. The interactions which happen in the sessions is something which is my take away from it because from those discussions, there is a lot of stuff that I get to know and also many times, new aspects about a certain topic becomes open in front of me. Also because of it, I do a lot of domestic and international travels and get a chance to see a lot of new places , meet with a lot of new people every week. So that’s something which can be called as an added bonus. So the whole experience is very rewarding in every way for me.

I think there is no single course that I can say that I like more than the rest because all of them are related to oracle database, a topic that’s very dear to my heart so I like teaching them all!

How you experiencing as an ACE Member & road map, Brief if any other achievements. 

Oh that’s the best thing happened to me and trust me and I love and feel very proud on being an Oracle ACE every moment! I can’t express it enough that how much big award it is and how much of respect and honor comes with it. It’s a very elite club of professionals who don’t just know the things very well but also like to share it with the rest of the community and I just feel so honoured to be a part of this club. A big thanks goes to OTN team for such effort and doing so good work for the ACE program. The road map on becoming an ACE? Well, it’s an award given as recognition of your contributions and sharing within the community. So if you think you can help others, share your knowledge and learning and keep on doing it and eventually, someone would definitely notice it and the ACE award would come to you.


– Special Thanks to Aman Sharma–

What more I can say except thanks, isn’t it?


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